The Risky “Swine Flu” Insanity Pandemic

2009-04-30 | |
Last updated: 2009-04-30

With the April 29th announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) upgrading the alert level of the “swine flu” situation to Phase 5, we are reminded of the intended manipulations that are possible by many world governments in times of uncertainty. While undoubtedly a serious situation as Phase 5 indicates we are but one step from away a pandemic, the actions taken by many governments strongly suggest ulterior motives not driven by the desire to protect the citizens.

When it was first announced that the “swine flu” had claimed lives, many countries quickly moved to request that all non-essential travel to Mexico be postponed. This was despite public statements by the WHO indicating that travel advisories were not an effective means of controlling the spread of the virus. The issue of such advisories, while not reasonably considered manipulative, does show ignorance on the part of some governments. However, more severe actions taken by other governments are certainly more suspect.

Though the flu has been dubbed a “swine flu”, it is likely that it did not immediately originate from pigs in the first place. According to the Office International des Epizooties (World Organization for Animal Health), the current virus contains swine, human and an avian flu component so has really been misnamed. Though some may state that the choice of a name is not important, the implications of this poor naming choice are quite real.

Over the past few days, numerous governments including China, Indonesia, Lebanon, Russia and the United Arab Emirates have all banned the import of pork products and swine on what some media attribute to extremely cautious behaviour. What is more likely in those countries with significant pork imports is an attempt to implement some protectionist measures in what are also uncertain economic times.

While it is impossible to identify the countries that may be using this tactic, those that are banning pork products in addition to live swine should be eyed with skepticism considering that the WHO has clearly indicated that any such virus would be destroyed with proper cooking techniques. Time will likely identify those countries attempting to manipulate the situation since they will be the ones maintaining their bans as long as possible. The unfortunate outcome will be the disruption of the livelihood of farmers and other workers dependent on the industry in these hard financial times. The governments playing the games will never face consequences for their actions.

On another front, the execution of all 300,000 pigs in the country by the government of Egypt is likely yet another means of taking advantage of the current situation. In this case, the government of this 90% Muslim country is eradicating the pigs of the 10% Christian minority. Muslims are banned by their religion from eating pork as it seen as unclean so it is not a stretch to interpret the government actions as a form of religious persecution to destroy the livelihoods of a group likely seen as an unwelcome minority. The UN has criticized this action by the Egyptian government as a “real mistake”.

While we do have a real situation that warrants a heightened need for preparedness by our health systems and the public should be encouraged to take precautions, the actions by numerous governments are deplorable. Their actions only serve to demonstrate that they have far less concern for their citizens than for implementing hidden agendas. We can only hope that they will actually divert more of their efforts to protecting their citizens.

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